Lent and the $10,000 Question
We are in a season of renewal and of regeneration at Southminster. It is fitting that as winter loosens its grip, we look to the hope of Spring. But we are not there yet. There are struggles and obstacles yet to face. This is Lent.
I was talking to a member recently about some of the church’s recent efforts to update our ministry and facility. They said, “well what are we doing to reach new people? We can’t just expect people today to show up on Sunday without some type of invitation, or social connection.” To which I replied, “You’re right. What do you think we should we do?”
This person looked back at me with expectant eyes and silence. Perhaps I caught them off-guard with my returning the question to them. They looked at me and I at them and together we had an unspoken agreement that this is the $10,000 question Southminster faces.
Having a new Vision Statement is great. It will help guide our decisions and give us something to tie our ministries together. Having a Décor Team look at freshening up our spaces is great. Having Commission activities and events provides experiences for our members. But how often are we actively sharing the Good News with NEW people?
It is hard to think that Southminster was once full of new people. People who came from the neighborhood and surrounding towns because something about the people and the Spirit here captivated them and they found a place to serve. Here is where their passions met the community’s need. The current church members made space at the table for these new strangers. They were welcomed, invited, included and even given authority to lead. Members stepped aside and lifted up the new and different voices to carry the church into God’s future.
Where are the new voices in our church today and how are we responding? What do we hear that challenges us, pushes our buttons, and triggers our fears? Do we lift them up, inquire about their hopes and vision? Do we criticize new ways of doing things, or by ignoring them show our disapproval?
Perhaps this Lent can be different kind of Lent. Instead of thinking about a personal, individual Lent, let’s think about Lent for our Congregation. If we really want God’s blessings, if we want Southminster to make a big difference in people’s lives what does our church need to face and confess?
Lent is a Season of calling on God to help us in times of need. We admit Southminster has its share of cliques, gossip, and entrenched unspoken values (like most every church). But let’s not allow those to keep us from welcoming new ideas, being open to rebuke, and claiming God’s promises of blessings.
It is my prayer that this Lent turns our heart to God and God opens our heart to the future of blessings He has planned for us.